Archive for the ‘Naturepedic’ Category

Naturepedic Goes Beyond Certified

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The time is here for Naturepedic to show off in a big way … to the retail industry, that is.

Naturepedic is prepping for Las Vegas Market in July, an industry show where companies showcase their latest and greatest offerings in furniture, home décor and gifts. The biannual Las Vegas Market is a whopper of a show: picture some 50,000 or more buyers for the stores you know and many you don’t arriving from all over the country, even world, to decide the products their stores will carry. It’s big.

For the July show, Naturepedic debuts its Beyond Certified campaign to educate retailers about the clever innovations and product variety offered in our adult organic mattresses, which, on top of everything are independently certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Not only do our mattresses earn GOTS certification, but so does our entire manufacturing facility. That gives us bragging rights.

The Beyond Certified campaign works toward two goals.  One is to reinforce the importance of GOTS certification, which separates organic products like ours from those making hollow “green” claims.  Another goal is to flaunt how Naturepedic is bringing a fresh approach back to organic mattresses, which for years was stuck in a latex-only funk.

Las Vegas Market lets us show what's in our mattresses. (display from previous Market)

Las Vegas Market lets us show what’s in our mattresses. (display from previous Market)

We do make amazing GOTS-certified all organic latex mattresses, but we do a lot more. Regarding latex, we are the only organic mattress manufacturer exclusively using latex certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS.

Latex is great, but many people enjoy the cooler sleep offered from the increased airflow afforded by coils or simply don’t want an all-foam mattress, organic or not. We provide a variety of GOTS-certified designs to make them very happy. Not only do we offer organic latex foam top comfort layers atop organic cotton fabric encased coils for a best of both worlds design, we also provide latex-free models with comfy encased comfort coils for luxurious latex-free comfort. Did you know Naturepedic is the only maker of GOTS-certified cotton encased coil mattresses in the U.S.? We are!  (I told you – this is our time to show off!)

Fresh also means doing things differently, like offering an organic sleep system that lets you customize your layers.  Our EOS™ brings a European flair to organic mattresses with a modern look, and allows customers to create their own dream mattresses, even with different firmness levels on each side of the bed for sleep partners with clashing preferences.  That’s something you just don’t see in typical organic mattresses!

EOS lets you customize your sleep experience

EOS lets you customize your sleep experience

And that’s the point of Beyond Certified.  At Naturepedic we are not typical.  We are constantly innovating, developing and offering creative new approaches to organic mattresses and accessories made with healthier materials, but always with a dedication to old-fashioned quality.

I guess we’re just an old-fashioned, non-traditional trendsetting innovator of healthier, safer, more comfortable mattresses!  It’s fun to brag sometimes.

Going to July Market? Visit us at Booth C-1565.

Naturepedic Handmade Mattresses: Real People, Real Quality

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

 

Our mattresses are handmade. Really.

A toy zipping down a conveyor belt, made from wooden pieces cut by a pre-programmed robotic machine then painted by an automated sprayer but in the end assembled with four bolts by hand is not “handmade” in my mind. To me, handmade is something lovingly made by a real person or persons.

Naturepedic mattresses are handmade in the classic sense.686A9499

Our manufacturing plant in Ohio (fully certified to the stringent Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), by the way) doesn’t use an assembly line, for starters.  Instead, you’ll see stations where skilled craftspeople are sewing, cutting, and otherwise building mattresses, each person paying close attention to the job at hand. The process reminds me of watching an heirloom guitar being hand built.

One of the greatest features of this approach is every individual employee in our factory is empowered to stop the process if something isn’t right, and by right, I mean perfect. One of our greatest sources of pride is the pride our employees put into their craft. Of course we use machines and tools, particularly for stitching, but behind every machine or tool is a detail-oriented person obsessively checking for quality.

Coils, made in house, are individually wrapped in organic cotton sleeves and hand attached

My favorite part, and one of the most remarkable processes to watch, is the creation of metal coils, each individually wrapped in organic cotton fabric. Amazing. To do this, we use reconditioned vintage machines from Europe that are in themselves things of beauty. The machinery creates the coiled springs from straight wire, compresses the coil and allows them to be sewn into the cotton pockets. The precision machinery, while old, is exceptionally complicated, with a remarkable number of moving parts. After each coil is wrapped, a craftsman hand attaches the individual coils.

The bottom line is we simply don’t take short cuts. We craft mattresses with real people, skillfully working together to make awesome products. That’s what I call handmade.

To watch some of the handmade process and to catch a glimpse of the machinery I mentioned above that coils the wires, check out our award-winning video.

Regrettable Substitutions

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

 

Questionable chemicals associated with health and developmental issues such as cancer, thyroid disruption and learning disabilities can show up in the most innocuous of consumer products. These chemicals sometimes, although infrequently, garner enough bad press to get them removed, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Unfortunately, removal may not be what it seems.

beakersWhy? Because an offending chemical can be removed simply to be replaced with a similar, possibly worse chemical. Called “regrettable substitution” by the Environmental Defense Fund and other organizations, this strategy may temporarily solve a company’s marketing or PR problem but does little to get an actual safer product to the consumer. And there are virtually no regulations to prevent this.

BPA

Take for example Bisphenol-A, or BPA. Following an outcry from the private and academic sectors on BPA’s links to hormonal disruption and connections to cancer and diabetes, the FDA banned it from baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012 (although according to the FDA it was not banned for health reasons but due to industry abandonment). Even before the ban, companies had begun making “BPA-Free” products and parents breathed a sigh of relieve.

The problem, however, is that BPA was commonly replaced with an equally questionable chemical.  Current regulations require no safety testing or even disclosure.  BPA-free does not necessarily equal safe.

Phthalates

Similar responses occurred with the phthalate DEHP (phthalates are plasticizers used to make vinyl plastics softer and more pliable). Following associations with disruption of male reproductive development, products, particularly those marketed to the healthcare industry, began being advertised as “free of DEHP.” While technically truthful, DEHP can be replaced with other phthalates, possibly trading one problem for another.

Curious about what phthalates can be used? Congress banned three types of phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP) in any amount greater than 0.1 percent in some children’s toys and select child care articles. Additionally, Congress banned on an interim basis the phthalates DINP, DIDP, DnOP in any amount greater than 0.1 percent, but only for articles that can be placed in a child’s mouth or sucked.

In other words, out of more than a dozen currently used phthalates and phthalate substitutes, six have been banned in very specific product uses for children. For a children’s item that can’t be placed in a baby’s mouth, unless the consumer has access to a chemical testing lab, there is no way to know if phthalates are being used or which ones or whether they are safe.

Lack of Regulation

Lack of regulation and transparency not only puts the consumer at risk, but also makes life difficult for companies legitimately looking to offer safer products. For us at Naturepedic, the answer was to avoid the questionable chemicals altogether.  Rather than attempt to find a safer phthalate (or flame retardant or many other chemicals) we simply don’t use them, period.

While consumers should continue to do their homework regarding product safety, they should also insist on stronger safeguards against harmful chemicals. Discussions have begun on potential reform to the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, but real progress has yet to be made.

For more information on the risks of BPA-free products, read Environmental Defense Fund’s Sarah Vogel’s article “BPA-Free” plastics may pose equal or greater hazard than predecessors. For tips on avoiding BPA and phthalates, read the tip sheet from the Silent Spring Institute.

Making Better Decisions: Consumer Supported Agriculture

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

 

Working for a company committed to using the best organic materials, it’s probably not surprising I am personally committed to eating organic vegetables. Last week I picked up my first shipment of organically grown produce purchased through Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA.

Geauga Family Farms in OhioCommunity Supported Agriculture is available throughout the U.S. and allows small farms to pre-sell shares of their crops directly to consumers before the growing season begins. Living in Ohio, I joined the Geauga Family Farms CSA (the term CSA is used to refer to the overall principle as well as the individual farm group), a collective of small, mostly organic farms located around my area. For the particular selection I bought, everything is guaranteed organic with the exception of the blueberries, pears and apples which will appear later in the year; other options allow you to only get organic produce.

Each week, I pick up my shares of vegetables and fruits at a local greenhouse (if you’re ever in Northeast Ohio make sure you stop by Lowe’s Greenhouse who graciously offers their site for produce pickup). The shares vary week to week and reflect whatever is ripe for harvest. Last week included colorful Swiss chard, rutabaga, leaf lettuce, one of the first cucumbers of the season and other produce, all organically grown.

With a CSA I directly support farmers in my community. CSA also means vegetables and fruits that are truly ripe instead of having been picked too early to allow for cross country transport, and if. By getting only what is ready for harvest, I enjoy vegetables grown in season. I also get vegetables I might be hesitant to otherwise purchase, expanding my food range and encouraging me to try out new recipes.

If you don’t grow your own food it’s easy to feel disconnected to the farming process. Like a local farmer’s market, CSA narrows that disconnect by connecting you to the natural growing season and allowing you to interact directly with the people who grow your food.

Plus, there’s a geeky anticipation to see what veggies will grace this week’s basket. I’m working on building up that wonder in my kids. If I can get them excited about vegetables, then I’ve really scored big with CSA!

Busting Dust Mites

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
House_Dust_Mite

Not pretty things. Luckily, they can’t see each other. (c) Wikipedia, Creative Commons

I’m glad dust mites are too small to see because honestly, they’re nasty looking. Luckily, even with exceptional eye sight, you’re not going see a creature that measures a fraction of a millimeter (and they aren’t going to see you as they have no eyes).

As allergies go, reactions to dust mites are common, with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimating around 20 million Americans suffer from dust mite allergies. Ironically, for a creature that can jump start breathing and asthma problems in people, the little eight-legged creature itself doesn’t have a respiratory system.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says high levels of dust mite exposure is a significant factor in the development of asthma in children, so it makes sense to take precautions, particularly for babies who can’t use words to explain what ails them. Because the crib mattress is the most prominent piece of furniture where babies might spend half of their day sleeping and playing, this is the first best place to begin. While there is disagreement among experts on the overall effectiveness of allergy encasements for mattresses, their usage continues to be recommended by the AAFA and other major asthma foundations.

The waterproof surface of Naturepedic crib mattresses already acts as a dust mite barrier that covers the entire mattress. Seamless models mean no access points for mites or contaminants and also mean an easy wipe-clean surface. Experts recommend washing sheets at least weekly for dust mite control, but you’ll be likely doing that anyway with a baby.

Naturepedic organic crib waterproof mattress with built-in dust mite barrier

Naturepedic organic crib waterproof mattress with built-in dust mite barrier

Our crib mattresses are waterproofed with food grade polyethylene, meaning they do not have phthalates which are found in dust mite covers made with vinyl. We also offer a 2-sided mattress for older children with one side waterproofed, so it has a dust mite barrier on one side.

Dust mites are a part of nature, so you won’t eliminate them, particularly in humid climates, but you can limit their allergenic effects.  Some secondary efforts, according to the AAFA, include avoiding wall-to-wall carpeting in bedrooms and using blinds instead of fabric curtains (or at least washing fabric curtains often).

Additionally, the group recommends avoiding uncovered pillows and down-filled covers, recommendations geared more toward older kids.  For babies, to reduce the risk of SIDS the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends not placing pillows, covers, bumper or stuffed animals in a crib at all.

Learn more about our waterproof crib mattresses with dust mite barriers.

 

Naturepedic Offers Factory Tour to CleanMed

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Hospitals and medical facilities throughout the U.S. are realizing the benefits in adopting sustainable business practices and integrating greener products and materials into their mix.

cleanmed2014_logoNaturepedic was proud to sponsor the recent CleanMed 2014 show, held at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland, Ohio on June 2-5.  This national conference, held annually, brings together top thought leaders and key decision makers in the healthcare industry and promotes solutions for greater environmental stewardship.

Presented by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth (of which we are a proud member), CleanMed provides exhibits, conferences and presentations to address the many facets of greener healthcare solutions.  The entire event engages the industry, sharing successes and exploring new, healthier ways of approaching healthcare.

Because the event was held in nearby Cleveland, we were excited to offer attendees a tour of our manufacturing facility in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The Naturepedic factory is completely certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), making the tour a perfect way to start the conference.

Currently, more than 100 hospitals throughout the U.S. use the Naturepedic pediatric pad, found in hospital nurseries.

Naturepedic founder Barry Cik invites CleanMed visitors to feel certified organic cotton

Naturepedic Founder Barry Cik Discusses Chemicals in Crib Mattresses and University of Texas Study

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

A recent study published February of this year by a team of environmental engineers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has found that infants are exposed to high levels of chemical emissions from crib mattresses.

Below, Naturepedic founder Barry A. Cik explores aspects related to this report to provide a greater understanding of the overall topic of chemicals in crib mattresses.

 

Friends and Colleagues,

I’ve been asked by several people to comment on the University of Texas study regarding chemicals in crib mattresses.  In particular, people want to understand the practical implications of chemicals in crib mattresses.  I’ll use a Q & A format.

 Are Chemicals Really a Problem?

The chemical problem is quite well established.  For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics says the following:

“Over the past several decades, tens of thousands of chemicals have entered commerce and the environment, often in extremely large quantities…A growing body of research indicates potential harm to child health from a range of chemical substances…there is widespread human exposure to many of these substances…These chemicals are found throughout the tissues and body fluids of children and adults alike…”   [Policy Statement – Chemical Management Policy: Prioritizing Children’s Health; American Academy of  Pediatrics, April 25, 2011; http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/04/25/peds.2011-0523 ]

Naturepedic Founder Barry A. Cik talks chemical safety during the grand opening of the company's Beverly Hills gallery

Naturepedic Founder Barry A. Cik talks chemicals during the grand opening of the company’s California gallery

There are approximately 84,000 chemicals in the marketplace.  Most have been created since World War II, and never existed on planet Earth before.  An additional 1,000 new chemicals are created every year.  Most (actually, virtual all) chemicals have never been tested for toxicity or health concerns.  The EPA has the authority to take action for many other concerns, but, for chemicals, the EPA has virtually no authority.  Of the 84,000 chemicals in the marketplace, the EPA has so far banned five (5).

What Are the Primary Types of Chemicals of Concern in Crib Mattresses?

Flame Retardant Chemicals -  These primarily include Phosphate, Brominated, and sometimes Chlorinated or Antimony Flame Retardants.  When a chemical gets undue attention, and certainly if it gets banned, manufacturers tend to turn to other flame retardant chemicals.  But these substitutions are frequently known as “regrettable substitutions” because the new versions generally prove to be no better than the previous versions.  Various flame retardant chemicals have been associated with toxicity, mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, developmental issues, endocrine disruption, and reproductive issues, etc.

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) – PFCs are used as water-repellants and stain-repellants, and are frequently used to make the surface fabric of a crib mattress water-repellant.  In addition to being carcinogenic, one fairly recent study associated perfluorinated compounds with Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities [Philip J. Landrigan, Children’s Environmental Health Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York & Luca Lambertini, National Institutes of Health; published in Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 120, Number 7, July 2012.]

Phthalates – Phthalates are used to soften vinyl, and are linked to cancer and developmental issues.  Six phthalate chemicals were banned by Congress several years ago (as part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008) and a seventh has been added to California Prop 65.  Meanwhile, there are at least an additional seven or eight new phthalate versions now on the market, as well as other phthalate substitutes, which are technically legal (i.e. not banned) and are being used.  No one knows the effects of these substitute chemicals, and whether they will ultimately be shown to have better or worse or substantially the same health concerns.

Where Are Flame Retardants Found?

They can be found in the surface fabric of a crib mattress, and/or in a flame barrier directly beneath the surface fabric, and/or in the foam inside the mattress.  Most synthetic fabrics on the market are flame-resistant because flame-retardant chemicals have been added into the fibers when the synthetic fibers were made.  In the case of natural fabrics, being that the fibers themselves are natural and not synthetically created, the flame-retardant chemicals are generally added at any of several later stages of the fabric processing.

What About Using “Inherently” Flame Resistant Fabrics?

The industry sometimes uses the word “inherently” loosely.  When a mattress manufacturer buys a fabric to be used on the mattress, the mattress manufacturer generally would not even know the exact chemical formulation of the fabric (which may have been made by a third party, and perhaps in China), and would not know what flame retardant chemicals have been added into the fibers.  If the fabric that is used on the mattress passes the flammability test, then the mattress manufacturer will frequently simply call it an “inherently” flame-retardant fabric.  However, the only truly “inherently” flame-resistant fabrics in the marketplace are fabrics that are made with fiberglass.

What About “Soybean Foam”?

Soybean Foam, Soy Foam, Eco Foam, Harvest Foam ™, Plant Derived Foam, etc. are all marketing terms.  They are all Polyurethane Foam, except that some soybean or castor oil has been used to replace some of the polyols in the mix.  The Law Label regulations require that these materials not be identified by their marketing terms.  Rather, they must be identified by their correct technical term – which is Polyurethane Foam.

What About GREENGUARD and Other Certification Programs?

GREENGUARD is an excellent emissions certification program (and was introduced to the mattress community by Naturepedic).  However, even GREENGUARD has its limits.  For example, GREENGUARD only tests for the legally banned phthalates, but doesn’t test for all the replacements in the marketplace that are being used.  There are other certification programs available as well.  In each case, it is helpful to understand what is and is not being tested or evaluated.

Of all the certification options available in the marketplace, the certified organic program offered by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the most thorough.  It requires the use of certified organic fabrics and fill, and provides a high degree of chemical safety vetting for all other non-organic components that are required in a mattress.

How Do We Stop the Use of Inappropriate Chemicals?

Manufacturers and consumers can take several steps right now.  Chemicals of concern used in the manufacturing of a mattress can be replaced with less hazardous alternatives.  This reduces the risk up-front.  Then, exposure can frequently be limited in the product design and/or by separating the baby from the consumer item.  In the case of a crib mattress, this might include the use of an organic pad over the mattress.  Then, of course, manufacturers should be required to disclose and be transparent regarding what is being offered to the consumer.

Ultimately, the American Academy of Pediatrics says it best:  “Manufacturers of chemicals are not required to test chemicals before they are marketed…Concerns about chemicals are permitted to be kept from the public…those who propose to market a chemical must be mandated to provide evidence that the product has been tested…relevant to the special needs of pregnant women and children…”   [ibid]

-  Barry A. Cik

 

Organic Mattresses Just for Kids

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Ever wonder how a mattress made specifically for a kid varies from an adult mattress? Isn’t it simply the same twin-sized mattress as an adult twin-sized mattress?

Not at Naturepedic. Our certified organic mattresses for kids are designed specifically for developing bodies. Here’s how.

Be Firm with Your Kids

Essential for babies, a firm sleeping surface also benefits the developing bodies of older children. Naturepedic mattresses for kids feature a steel coil innerspring, and alternating coil directions create a strong stable feel and a medium-firm support perfect for kids. This added level of firmness might seem too firm for most adult preferences, but it’s best for kids’ growing bodies.

Additionally, our kid mattresses are made with a heavy duty edge support. This edge strength is a perfect reinforcement to allow adults to sit on the edge of the bed without sagging to read that bedtime story.

Get On Out, Allergies

In adult mattresses, organic wool and latex are awesome, but as adults, we probably have learned what allergens to avoid. In terms of babies and kids, our focus is on safety first and foremost, so our kids’ mattresses do not include latex or 100_0084wool. You will also find no coconut coir, another possible allergen due to the latex bonding agent. Because young ones with little-sized lungs sleep on these mattresses, we feel the best approach is to simply avoid possibly allergenic materials altogether, just in case.

Like all our mattresses, Naturepedic kids’ mattresses are free of polyurethane foam and vinyl and are made without pesticides, PFCs, chemical flame retardants and other questionable chemicals, and that’s not just our word. Our mattresses are certified organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and meet stringent clean air standards from UL/GREENGUARD. While all of this is beneficial to children with chemical sensitivities, we believe everybody benefits from reduced chemical exposure.

The Wetting Planner

When young children move from the crib to a big kid mattress, the occasional bed wetting accident can happen. The Naturepedic 2-in-1 bed for kids has one side fully waterproofed. This means easy clean-up without the need for an additional protective cover. Nice. Even better, our waterproofing is accomplished without PFCs or the phthalates found in vinyl, instead using food grade polyethylene.

As the child gets older, flip the mattress over for a quilted organic cotton fabric side. While the quilted side has a softer feel, it nonetheless provides a medium firm support.

100_0071The easy-to-clean wipe down surface of the waterproof side is also a benefit when kids get sick, regardless of age. As a parent I know how much I worry when my kids aren’t feeling good. Flipping the mattress to the waterproof side won’t help us parents worry less about our children, but it does mean we won’t need to add those extra layers of blankets or plastic shields to protect the bed.

Kid Power

Naturepedic mattresses for kids - kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids – kid friendly inside and out

Naturepedic mattresses for kids are designed specifically to support their unique needs while also making life easier for parents.

Learn more about our mattresses for kids, or even better check them out at any store carrying our kids’ mattresses.

Who’s Serious about Preserving Earth’s Natural Resources?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

 

There are plenty of companies guilty of green-washing. From crib mattresses to cosmetics, manufacturers around the world are flooding the market with products that contain small – virtually negligible – amounts of natural or organic substances hoping to cash in on the desire of consumers to save themselves and the environment from toxicity. But some companies are really taking the decline of environmental health seriously – Apple being one.

Apple made a very smart move a year ago. In May 2013, the company hired Lisa Jackson, Obama’s former EPA administrator. Big win for Apple.

Here are just a few of the company’s recent accomplishments:

  • solar farmTheir data center in Maiden, North Carolina is majorly powered by biogas fuel cells and two 20 megawatt solar arrays. It is the largest privately owned installation in the country, generating enough energy to power over 13,000 homes. Although there are days when 100% of their power is from this installation, they sometimes have to rely on other resources. But when they do, the extra energy is from completely clean sources. This facility is also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certified.
  • In fact, 100% of Apple’s data centers (facilities that house the networked computer that store, profess and distribute voluminous amounts of information) – in North Carolina, Oregon, Nevada and California – are powered with renewable energy – as are 94% of their corporate facilities.
  • Apple’s new corporate headquarters, currently under construction in Cupertino, CA, will use 30% less energy than equivalent conventional buildings. And the seven thousand trees on their new campus will turn carbon dioxide into the badly needed oxygen currently being robbed through deforestation.
  • The new iPad Air uses a third less material overall by weight than the original iPad, and less material is also used in iPhones, iPods and Macs.
  • Vilified for years over not providing recycling for their products, Apple now also accepts all used computers, iPads and iPhones for recycling. They even pay you to do it with gift cards in the both the U.S. and UK.

Apple has a ways to go – but they are leading the way, and fully committed. Check out the Environment section of their website for more info.

Is Apple going to make money on this? Absolutely – despite the huge investment. Rather, because of it. It’s what the planet needs, and it’s what people want. Their customers will be more than willing to pay a little more for their products because of their environmental activism.

If more companies would get the idea that doing the right thing will actually increase their profits, we’d see a lot more action.

At Naturepedic, we are similarly committed. Not only are our products non-toxic, our entire factory is certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Check our blog The Naturepedic Factory – What’s That Fresh Smell?

And stay tuned for more news on who is green-washing, and who’s really serious about preserving earth’s natural resources, and keeping its occupants healthy.

The Human Side of Organic

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Every purchased product, even if mass produced, was made by somebody with materials gathered or processed by real people.

Naturepedic always remembers that, even when sourcing materials. I am fortunate to know and interact with the real people who build Naturepedic organic mattresses. Most of the manufacturing team is made up of Amish men and women possessing considerable skills, and it’s impressive to watch these craftspeople build mattresses. With an office just outside of the manufacturing floor, I see the process frequently.

A reflective moment as our life size organic cotton sheep stuffed animal mascot wishes to become a real sheep

A reflective moment as our life size organic cotton sheep stuffed animal mascot wishes to become a real sheep

That said, although we make our mattresses here in Ohio, even coiling our own springs and then hand assembling them with organic cotton encasements one at a time, we still bring in raw materials like organic cotton, latex, wool and wood.

We don’t have our own live sheep at this point.

Did you know the organic certifications we offer for our mattresses and materials also take into account the human, animal and environmental impacts related to those materials long before our mattresses are even made?

Organic Certification

As a writer for Naturepedic, I generally focus on the end user benefits of a certified organic mattress, such as not being exposed to toxic flame retardants. There are, however, other aspects of responsibility that are near to my heart that do not get mentioned.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the standard to which Naturepedic mattresses and our entire manufacturing facility are certified, ensures that crops are grown and harvested without GMOs and toxic pesticides and fertilizers, but it goes beyond that.

GOTS also examines the harvesting and processing of those materials and how it affects the soil, wildlife, insects, and the humans who gather and make the materials. In other words, GOTS looks at the entire global impact.

Cotton

The global cotton industry alone is responsible for some of the worst human rights violations anywhere. A 2007 report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network UK found that six of the seven largest cotton producing nations regularly employ child labor, often under the most grueling circumstances.

For GOTS-certified cotton (and any agricultural products), crops must be harvested through employment freely chosen, and all levels of the product must be made without child labor in a safe and hygienic working area. Our mattresses use USDA-certified organic cotton grown in Texas, so we already have a huge step up using USA-grown cotton compared to mattresses made in other countries with lax human rights standards.

GOTS-certified organic cotton also doesn’t use the synthetic pesticides of conventional cotton.

The EJF report mentioned above estimates that cotton covers only 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet used 16% of the world’s insecticides. The report found in India, a remarkable 54% of the country’s pesticides were used on cotton, which occupies a little less than 5% of land use under crops!

These figures are just for the growing and harvesting phases, but the processing phase can also pose threats to workers and the planet. GOTS-certified cotton cannot be processed with the same harsh chemicals used in traditional cotton that are so detrimental. The certification looks at the whole process, from planting to processing.

Latex

Sourcing of organic latex foam, where rubber sap can be harvested from trees growing in countries without the same level of human rights afforded us in this country, requires even more vigilance for human rights. Our latex is independently certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS. Like GOTS, GOLS certification requires the latex be harvested responsibly, with workers treated fairly.

Additionally, it means rubber sap is harvested in a sustainable fashion with minimal environmental impact.

The Big, Sustainable Picture

Organic cotton fabric being stitched at Naturepedic

Organic cotton fabric being stitched at Naturepedic

Like GOTS, we strive to take a “big picture” approach in looking at overall planetary impact. Certified organic wool certified to GOTS, for example, must come from sheep raised humanely. But that’s not all. Even the wood we use to build our mattress frames has received certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to guarantee it was harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner.

We make you the safest, healthiest mattresses we can possibly make, and you can rest easy knowing that. We hope you’ll also feel better knowing your mattress was made with respect for the planet overall and the people, plants and animals living there.